IO Files

Memorandum by Representative John M. Vorys of the United States Delegation to the General Assembly


[Subject:] Memorandum on niact (Gadel 201, 11/20/51)

This requires consideration of (a) the present legal situation, (b) the Congressional situation next year.

(a) Note that the law prohibits any representative of the U.S. from committing the U.S. to any contribution in excess of 33⅓ percent of the budget of any international organization, provided that in “exceptional circumstances” such commitment can be made after “consultation with the” Appropriation Committees of the House and Senate. Every one in Congress knows that it is practically impossible to have a consultation with a Congressional Committee while both houses are in adjournment. No one in Congress would consider that a letter to Committee Chairmen constituted consultation, and “consultation” is required, not “reasonable endeavor”, as stated in Webb’s niact.

The law provides for commitment above 33⅓ percent only under “exceptional circumstances”. Routine contribution to the regular budget of the UN is certainly not an exceptional circumstance, particularly when the Congress knew of the 1948 UN resolution making 33⅓ percent the normal, knew of the gradual reduction, knew that more than 33⅓ percent, however, would probably be recommended by the Contribution Committee for next year.

Since there has been no consultation and the circumstances are not exceptional, representatives of the Government are prohibited by law from committing the U.S. to a contribution over 33⅓ percent.

(b) Regardless of legal technicalities, it is perfectly clear that Congress is not going to appropriate more than 33⅓ percent for the regular budget of the UN in 1952. The U.S. Delegation should bear this in mind in determining its position.

Note that Webb’s niact is strictly personal—“my strong personal feelingmy own judgment. My judgment …”

J. M. Vorys